Beef brisket is a cut of meat below the ribs and underneath the foreshank of the cow. This cut includes major muscles making it a rather tough cut of meat. It generally weighs between ten to sixteen pounds. Brisket is an affordable cut of meat because all of the connective tissue makes it rather tough, and until recently, it wasn't popular. But for those with patience, this can be an excellent cut of meat as long as you cook it low and slow. The brisket has two parts: the brisket flat, which is the middle cut, and the brisket point, which is connected to the rib cage. When it comes to brisket flat vs. point, the main differences are the fat content, shape, cooking time, and flavor.
When brisket is sold with both the flat and the point, it is called a whole packer or full packer. You can also find just the brisket flat sold by itself. Sometimes you can find just the point, which is also called the deckle sold by itself.
Brisket Flat vs. Point Cut: Key Differences
Brisket flat is the center cut of the meat and is much leaner than the point. The brisket point is fattier because it is connected to the rib cage and is a thicker cut of meat. While the brisket flat is larger than a point and lays flat. The brisket point has a triangular shape with a thin and thick end, making it challenging to cook properly. Brisket flat has more meat than the brisket point, which is mostly fat, meaning it has more flavor.
The two cuts of brisket have their differences, but they both need to be slow-cooked in either a smoker or a slow cooker to tenderize the meat. Braising is also an option for these two cuts.
Brisket Flat vs. Point Cut: Nutritional Differences
Brisket flat is the leaner cut of the two, with only 220 calories per 100 grams, while the point has 330 calories per 100 grams. Point also has more protein per serving at 29 grams, while flat only has 22 grams. In addition, brisket point has eight more grams of fat per serving and three grams more saturated fat than brisket flat. Likewise, brisket point has slightly more cholesterol, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 than brisket point.
What is Brisket Flat?
Brisket flat is the flat part of the brisket that is lean and tough. It comes from the chest or breast of the cow. The best way to cook a brisket flat is low and slow to soften the connective tissue and infuse more flavor. A brisket flat is ideal for cutting into strips or slices.
What is Point Cut?
The brisket point is the fatty triangular-shaped part of the brisket. It has a thick layer of fat called the fat cap and tends to have less meat than the flat. Brisket point is marbled, enriching the meat with fatty flavor as the fat melts in the cooking, creating flavorful, robust meat. Cooked brisket point is ideal for shredding.
How to Choose a Brisket
The best way to find a high-quality brisket is to go to your local butcher or ranch. They will have the best cuts. In the past, the brisket wasn't a popular cut of meat because it is so tough, but nowadays, brisket is a prized cut as more and more home chefs have smokers, and barbecue has gained in popularity. The cut is still considered affordable meat, but the price has been rising to meet demand.
You can buy the whole brisket and separate the point and the flat, or ask the butcher to cut them apart for you. Or you can buy just the flat. It isn't easy to find just the point as most consumers buy the entire packer brisket. Around St Patrick's Day, you may see the point for sale because it is ideal for making corned beef—the marbled cooks down, making excellent tender meat.
How to Cook a Brisket
Low and slow is the only way to cook a brisket. You can do it in the oven on low, in a Dutch oven or Crock Pot, or in a smoker. It is popular to smoke the entire brisket and then remove the deckle, chop it up, and add it back to create something called burnt ends, prized by some as the charcoaled fatty nuggets of flavor.
When planning to smoke a brisket, experts recommend a half pound to a ¾ pound per person. Because both types of brisket are of different thicknesses, many choose to separate them to avoid over or undercooking. Smoking a full-packer brisket can take anywhere from eight to ten hours. But just smoking the flat is a shorter process. The brisket is done when the internal temperature is 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit. You should use a thermometer to check the temperature rather than cutting into the brisket and risk losing the savory juices. Once the brisket is done, remove it and let it rest for one hour before serving.
The deckle or point is ideal for cooking in a Crockpot. This is an excellent option for busy home cooks because you can set it and let it cook on low for eight hours. The point will still be firm enough to slice or shred.
How to Season a Brisket
Seasoning a brisket comes down to personal taste. Many spice rubs have a mix of smoked paprika, brown sugar, and garlic powder with salt and pepper. Many premade spice rubs are available, or you can make your own. Every pitmaster has their own specific style, and there are many variations. Home chefs should try a few different spice blends to find their favorite; they might even find a few favorites.
What to Serve with Brisket
Brisket is served as the main dish with many different sides. Depending if you are eating Texas-style brisket or Memphis-style, Carolina-style, or Kansas City-style, the sides are a little different, but the most popular sides to serve with smoked brisket are almost as good as the main attraction. Coleslaw, either vinegar-based or mayo-based, is one of the most popular sides, along with macaroni and cheese but not the stuff in the blue box, homemade macaroni and cheese. Other popular sides are potato salad, baked beans, and cornbread. Braised collard greens and roasted vegetables are also popular sides.
Other Ways to Use Brisket
Brisket is a great food to meal prep. It is a large cut of meat, and chances are you will have leftovers. Leftover brisket is perfect for sandwiches like a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich, or add some grilled peppers and cheese for a Philly sandwich. Or take some culinary inspiration from Mexican cuisine and add brisket to tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Or add it to a pot of chili for a warm treat on a cold day. You can make Korean bulgogi or Australian meat pies with leftover brisket. Brisket is a versatile cut of meat, and just about anything is better with some brisket.
Cooked brisket stored in the refrigerator should be used within four days. If you have too much brisket and can't eat it all in that amount of time, you will be pleased to know that brisket freezes well. It must be stored in an air-tight container and will last up to two months in the freezer.
- The brisket flat is a middle cut, while the brisket point is connected to the rib cage.
- A brisket point is fattier than a brisket flat, giving it a richer flavor.
- Due to its unique shape, a brisket point is tougher to cook. It takes time and patience, but we think the end product is worth it!
Beef brisket is a tough cut of meat that is starting to be a key player in the culinary world. The two types of brisket, flat and point, can be cooked together or separately as long as you cook them on low and allow them to tenderize. The main difference between the two is the fat content of brisket flat is leaner than point and not as thick, so it cooks in less time than brisket point. But both types of brisket are mouth-watering treats that you can enjoy on their own or with your favorite side dishes.
Try this great recipe:Print
- 4 pounds beef brisket flat
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 whole black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1. Cover meat with boiling water.
2. Add vegetables and seasonings.
3. Simmer until tender about 3 hours.
4. Remove meat from liquid, place in shallow baking dish.
5. Reserve 2 cups of the beef-onion stock. Add the chopped tomato and stir.
6. Spread egg over meat; sprinkle with dry bread crumbs.
7. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until brown.
8. Make an onion sauce with reserved beef-onion stock and serve with meat.
9. Serve over steak fries if desired.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes